Background: Immunoglobulin free light chains (FLC) form the substrate for synthesis of amyloid fibrils in patients with AL amyloidosis. Development of FLC assay (Freelite) has allowed us to better assess the clonal cell burden in patients with AL amyloid. The relationship of the light chain types and their levels in serum to the clinical feature at presentation and the eventual outcome has not been systematically studied.
Methods: We identified 730 patients with biopsy proven AL amyloidosis, who were seen at Mayo Clinic between January 1980 and July 2006, who were seen within 90 days of their diagnosis and in whom FLC levels were performed or had stored serum available for analysis. Cardiac biomarkers (cTnT, NT ProBNP) were also performed on stored serum for some of the patients as part of previous studies. Clinical data and follow up status are prospectively collected into the Dysproteinemia database, which was used for the study.
Results: The median age of the study population was 63 years (range; 32–90) and 463 patients (63%) were male. The median estimated survival for the entire group was 37 months from diagnosis and the median follow up for the 263 patients (37%) alive at the time of the analysis was 27.8 months (range; 1–177 months). The plasma cell clone was lambda in 528 patients (72%) and kappa in 202 (28%) patients. The median absolute difference between the FLCs was 19.6 mg/dL for the entire group (range; 0.01–2478); for the kappa patients was 29.4 mg/dL (range; 0.01–1359) and for the lambda patients was 18.2 mg/dL (range; 0.03–2478). Kappa AL was associated with more involvement of the GI tract and liver as indicated by higher alkaline phosphatase (1.8 vs. 1.3 fold; P=0.03), higher total bilirubin (0.95 vs. 0.78 mg/dL, P = 0.04) and lower serum carotene (119 vs. 155 ug/dL; P = 0.0002). On the contrary, renal involvement was more in the lambda AL with the 24 hour urinary albumin higher in the lambda AL (2.4 gm vs. 1.4 gm; P = 0.0002) and lower serum albumin (2.77 vs. 2.97 mg/dL; P = 0.001). While there was no difference in the overall survival (OS) between the kappa and lambda AL, the median OS for those without a heavy chain was significantly shorter (12.6 months vs. 29.9 months; P= 0.01) compared to those with a heavy chain identified. There was also a correlation between high FLC difference and degree of organ involvement, especially cardiac. Among the 202 kappa AL patients, the median survival for those with a high FLC difference ( > 29.4 mg/dL) was 13 months vs. 48.8 months for those with low difference (P = 0.001). Similarly among the 528 patients with lambda AL, those with high difference (> 18.2 mg/dL) had a median OS of 9.3 months compared to 33 months for those with low difference (P < 0.0001) (Figure). The FLC difference was independent of the cTnT, NT Pro BNP, uric acid and fold-increase in alkaline phosphatase, all of which were significant in the multivariable analysis.
Conclusions: The type of FLC impacts the spectrum of organ involvement, with gastrointestinal involvement observed more frequently with kappa, and renal involvement with lambda FLC. The FLC burden correlates with the degree of organ involvement, and is a significant predictor of overall survival in AL amyloidosis. Lambda FLC exerts similar effect as kappa FLCs, but at lower levels confirming the increased “amyloidogenicity” of lambda FLC. Finally, lack of a chaperone heavy chain is associated with a poorer outcome.
Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.